Tuesday, 26 July 2016

bell, book and candle

Having just recently made the acquaintance of Marginal Revolution and reading the blog with some regularity, I was intrigued to learn of an upcoming book by its caretaker, Tyler Cowen.
Titled The Complacent Class, the work examines how relentlessness and insistent perseverance (first observed by Alexis de Tocqueville in his travelogue Democracy in America) that once characterised American gumption or at least framed the American Dream—with due caution for the dangers of exceptionalism and appreciating that such phenomena carry with them a Manifest Destiny that does not respect borders, is being eroded into a sort of smugness that’s cushioned by apathy and disengagement by what Tyler identifies as the “matching culture.” Just as there are fewer and fewer of Noah’s Arks of apartment buildings, no menageries from all walks of life housed together, and people self-segregate—much of our thinking, choices, loving is governed by algorithm that while delivering the kindred and the resonant also threatens to isolate and insulate. Of course demagogues, media and marketing have always been instruments of manipulation but we have not been able to so exclusively people our world’s—thus limiting our horizons—with like-minded and reaffirming furniture. I was excited to see the preview of this publication and think it will be a very worth-while read.